You know how everyone’s been talking about Charice Pempengco‘s duet with Celine Dion? Yeah, that one – the one that’s got stage moms all in a tizzy, rushing to enroll their squeaky daughters at the center for Pop and trying to learn how to upload vids on YouTube.
Charice really pulled off a pretty good performance there. My friend says she sang a bit fast, but then again, that’s what nerves can do to you. After all, the girl was in Madison Square Garden, right? Anyway, so it was a wonderful performance and she deserved every second of applause she got.
But that’s not what this post is about. I’m sure there’ll be tons of blogposts on this girl’s performance, anyhoo. So I’ll talk about a couple of things I noticed instead.
First off, this vid shows Celine Dion’s intro for Charice. She talked up a storm about the girl, most of it glowing praise. But what got my goat, and pretty much turned me off, was the emphasis Dion was placing on how terrible Charice’s life was – abusive father and all that – presumably before music made it all bearable, la dee-da.
Well, alright. Maybe there is some truth to that. Hell, maybe even a lot of truth. But do we really have to bring this girl’s tattered past to the fore just to make her more amazing? It’s ridiculous. The girl’s got pipes the likes of which we haven’t seen since, I don’t know, Lea Salonga? What good does framing her as a survivor of domestic tragedy really do? What value does it add to her astounding talent? Nothing. It adds nothing of value whatsoever. All it does is prostitute her past for the sake of adding a little more burnish to her shine. She doesn’t need it.
You know what? It’s us who needs it. We – and I am speaking in broadly general terms here – need for her to be a survivor because that’s what makes her such an aspirational figure for us. We turn her into some role model that we can use and abuse for own purposes. But in doing so – in forcing her to be our psychological comfort – we risk locking her into that iconography until she becomes famous, not for her talent, but for what she represents. Right now, that might be fine, but she’s only sixteen.
She likely won’t be the same chirpy sunny person a year from now, and then what does she do? She can’t be herself anymore because if she turns out to be anything other than perfect, it’ll clash with our image of her and it’ll endanger her career. Instead, she’ll have to pretend to stay the perfect little survivor we have tattooed in our hearts and minds; and pretending that way lacerates the soul.
Next thing you know, she’ll be as dysfunctional as Britney Spears.
People should really learn to appreciate talent for its own sake, not because it survived against all odds.
The second thing I noticed about Dion’s verbose intro was how she cleverly made it appear that it was Oprah Winfrey that discovered Charice. That it was Oprah the whole world has to thank for the gift of the little girl’s killer voice.
All that crap Dion spouted was just Oprah pWning Ellen de Generes. And i can’t help but think that it was deliberate too.
Oprah has been steadily losing viewership to Ellen, who – for the record – was the one who introduced America to Charice. So, I’m guessing, when Oprah saw the opportunity to shaft Ellen, she did, by snapping up the girl, digging up her tragic past, and subtly trying to re-write history by making it appear that she discovered Charice.
Haha. Just sixteen and already a marketing tool. I can almost imagine the warm smell of colitas rising up through the air, and Oprah standing in the doorway and telling Charice to spend the night at Hotel California. I can only hope that she can get out with her soul intact.
Filed under: pop-culture, celebrity, Celine Dion, Charice, Charice Pempengco, duets, Ellen de Generes, Hotel California, Oprah Winfrey